Great Lakes – John Smith (album review)

John Smith’s biggest failing is printed prominently on the artwork of each of his three albums; type his name into Google and you will need to rummage through the debris in order to find him. But it is still worth doing so because (it is still worth saying), despite the cliché, the Devonshire songwriter’s common … Continue reading

Too Little Too Latte (or, The Triumphant Return of UK Uncut)

Saturday saw a raft of actions take place inside, outside and against Starbucks in the UK. The day of action, called by UK Uncut, focused on ‘women’s services’ – a broad collective category united by its necessity and damningly predictable vulnerability. Starbucks were picked as a target due to their legal – though morally reprehensible – … Continue reading

Portico Quartet: a review

Probably one of the most exciting bands on the avant-garde edge of the contemporary/jazz music scene is Portico Quartet. Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2008, the East London group has been honing and developing its sound for the last four years, winning new fans and accolades with each album and every performance. Comprised … Continue reading

The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade

Andrew Feinstein’s The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade has been a long time coming. Anyone with more than a casual acquaintance with the arms industry will be well aware of its arsenal of libel lawyers, and the alacrity with which they descend upon all but the most cast iron of assertions against it. … Continue reading

The arms fair and the media

Originally published on the Pluto Press blog. It has now been six days since the main day of action called by the Stop the Arms Fair coalition against DSEi –the world’s largest arms fair- held in the Excel Centre in East London. The dust will always take a little while to settle after big campaigning days such as Tuesday, but … Continue reading

Violence in suits

8/09/2011 This morning, at a time of the day when by rights I should have had another 4 hours of dozing -minimum- to enjoy, I left the flat for Newham, in order to help distribute 2,000 copies of The Newham Adversary. The Adversary is a one-off community sheet produced by the Stop the Arms Fair … Continue reading

London’s Burning

“These people have no morality. They and their friends sponge off the taxpayer, they are thieves, have little respect for law, their communities, or society in general. They steal, loot, run riot through the city with impunity… have no concern for people. And now they’re coming home from their luxury holidays to sort the riots … Continue reading

“hello, my name’s male privilege, excuse me while I shut down the press”

Once upon a time, not that long ago, I could churn out words. Every week a by-line, some deep purple ruminations, with the accompanying research, (an hour at most), doing its best to hoist up the sails of the latest vessel. Flimsy skeletons. Anyway, it’s hard to imagine now. Often if we were down on … Continue reading

Violence on Trial

This article will appear in Red Pepper magazine soon, or so I am told… The Mutiny, it seems, pride themselves on being at odds with the pedantic solemnity that is typically a feature of discussion groups on the Left. Instead of grandstanding speeches calling for workers to seize the means of production, Mutiny offer ‘speed-debating’, … Continue reading

Dissecting a movement: analysing UK Uncut

The zeitgeist in activism in the first half of 2011 has definitely been UK Uncut. The network’s ethos of enjoyable direct action has appealed to activists, and, more crucially, the middle classes in a way that no other campaign has managed to in the last few years. With hindsight offering predictably 20:20 vision, one could … Continue reading